Working from home is the new Kiwi norm. Most of us now, post-pandemic, are likely to have adapted to a working environment that is both familiar and somewhat unfamiliar at the same time. I've lost count of the number of times my two year old has interrupted my Teams catch up's or Zoom calls!
Did you know that it takes an average of just over 23 minutes to get back on task following an interruption? Whether that interruption is screaming toddlers, a partner on the phone, or your dog barking at people as they run past your house, there's bound to be something to distract us when we're at home. Some people might even have more personal issues, like ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) to contend with.
This doesn't just apply to working-from-home adults however. It also applies to younger kids and teens who might struggle to do homework or other tasks at home. Finding coping mechanisms and effective strategies can make a massive difference in work success, overall happiness and mental health. Some are below.
Designing and Creating an Effective Workspace
This is essential if you want to stay on track and get things done. Have all the equipment you need on hand and ensure that you can work comfortably. Make it a place where you actually enjoy spending time.
A high-quality office chair is one of the most important investments you can make. The better quality it is, the longer you can sit in it without health risks. If it's not comfortable, then you will find all sorts of excuses to get up and procrastinate! Also keep in mind that it's important to get up and walk around or get some exercise in during the day to stay fresh when working from home too.
If you're the sort of person who prefers standing, then you don't have to fork out the big bucks for a standing desk - you can get accessories like a deskalator that allow you to easily swap between sitting and standing. This allows you to create a healthy routine during the day, and minimise the time you spend sitting down. And don't forget to open a window and get some fresh air.
Regular Contact and Social Interaction
It's actually more important now to keep in touch with friends, family and colleagues to avoid feelings of isolation. Withdrawal from regular social contact, and not having the same team dynamic (whether it be work or school) can cause stress and anxiety.
Schedule in regular check-ups with colleagues, talk to them about what you're working on together to help get your focus back - or even on how things are going outside of work. This helps with maintaining good working relationships while building trust and transparency.
However, it's still important to limit social media usage - you may even want to allocate time slots for checking your phone during the day.
Goal Setting and Recording Achievements
It can be difficult to feel motivated and valued when there's nobody around you. Along with scheduling regular catch up's or check-in's with colleagues, try and break your work down into smaller, easier to manage chunks, and focus on doing one task at a time. This is especially important for people who might have ADHD. It's important to celebrate success together in team environments, even when catching up online. And realising the intrinsic value of your work can sometimes bring its own motivation. Write down a to-do list, and tick things off as you go to help you visualise the progress. Maybe use a diary or a wall planner.
And remember - it's also important to clock out. Separate your work time from your home time. Take the kids out, relax and enjoy your down time. Don't look at it as procrastinating, look at it as relaxing. That way, you'll be able to come back to work, when you need to, much more refreshed and you'll find you'll be far more productive.
Visual (or Audio) Cues and Fidgeting Objects
It can often help to have visual reminders or cues. Things such as personal notes, to-do lists, calendars with deadlines on them, or simple reminders will help you focus. Whatever you need to help retrain and focus your mentality. Some use audio to help stay focused - so take some time to craft a good playlist. Only music you're familiar with though so it can become background noise. Listening to music will really help with tuning out other noises and distractions.
Often people with ADHD, or people who struggle with focusing more than others will benefit greatly from having some sort of hand held object that they can fidget with. This might be a stress ball, a pen, a finger spinner, or even a stack of poker chips.
The Jari Activstool has a curved base to ensure that you are constantly flexing, adjusting and moving. It's proven to help with focus and shown to improve concentration. It's perfect for anyone with ADHD. The Jari Activstool operates by acting as one leg on a three leg stool, where your own two legs operate as the other legs of the stool. It suits both adults and students and is highly recommended for those who want some sort of fidgeting distraction to help them focus on the task at hand.
Enough said really. Get up, go to the gym. Go for a walk. Take that dog for a run, maybe it'll stop barking at the neighbours?
Lack of movement is not only bad for your body, but bad for your mind as it causes you to become sluggish. If it's raining, find something new to do. Look up some yoga videos on YouTube, or do some stretching in your lounge.
Good luck with keeping your focus while working from home. And remember to make your Home Office Space somewhere that is engagine you are comfortable working in!